On 9th January, I spent the day work shadowing Sarah Cox, the Chief Operating Officer at ofgem. It was a jam packed day that gave me an honest reflection of the working environment in the organisation.
Walking into 10 S Colonnade in Canary Wharf was very intimidating but Sarah was very welcoming and instantly eased my nerves. Coincidently, the 9th was also when two new senior recruits were also starting and I was able to see their introduction to ofgem. Throughout the day, I was able to partake in or observe numerous meetings looking at a spectrum of areas including finance, HR and IT. Furthermore, I was able to sit in on a speech by ofgem Chairman, Martin Cave and Chief Executive Dermot Nolan on the future direction of the organisation. In one day I got a feel of the overall organisation and the work they do.
Most beneficial was seeing Sarah’s vibrant leadership style. Sarah was hardly at her desk for more than 15 minutes instead, with a Pepsi Max in her hand, she was running about to different meetings. It was really eye-opening to experience how diverse your role can be when you reach to Sarah’s seniority. And rather than her knowledge of the energy sector, it was her leadership, managerial, commercial skills which make her excellent at her job. Sarah knew what was going on in that office! Sarah’s favourite word was agile, the ability to move quickly and easily. That was her vision for ofgem and after spending the day with her, the word embodies what Sarah is.
After just one day of shadowing, I learnt so much about what a true leader looks like. I can’t wait to take what I learnt and apply it to my work.
4th November 2015
After a few informal emails with Sarah Cox, I had luck on my side when I visited my sister in London and arranged a meeting with her at (very) short notice. She squeezed me in for a breakfast meeting at 8am the next day, at the Department for Work and Pensions headquarters.
Sarah invited me to the DWP Digital Academy in Leeds, so it was an early start to arrive at the station for 9am. I met Sarah and we took the short walk to the Academy where she introduced me to her staff and other Directors. I was shown around the Academy and was able to speak with the Director about their progress and plans for the future. I took the opportunity to speak to one of the Directors about the possibility of partaking in one of the programmes and she was more than happy to offer me a place. I spent the remainder Continue reading
Sarah was visiting Birmingham and this seemed like a great opportunity to have a catch up regarding my applications and talk over my plans for next term. We met on campus and discussed the progress of some of my applications and took this opportunity to discuss other schemes and internships that I may be interested in. Continue reading
Sarah and I arranged our first meeting via email. I had already booked onto a workshop in London relating to my course, so we made plans to meet for lunch beforehand.
We met by the Shard, and went for lunch at a restaurant nearby. I was really nervous, but she was so lovely and quickly put me at ease. We spent time chatting about what I wanted from the scheme and what my current ideas were for after University. As I don’t know what I want to do I was very nervous about this conversation, as I thought she would probably expect me to have some idea where I’d like to go. Fortunately she was really nice about it, and very reassuring. We started by
establishing some areas I definitely didn’t want to work in which was good. She also suggested that I write a list of things I wanted from a job, my list of ‘values’, that I should keep to throughout my working life.
As an International Relations student going into my final year at university, the prospect of having a mentor was an opportunity I could not pass up. At the end of the ALMP interview process I was delighted to be matched with Sarah Cox, Director of Strategy and Planning at the Cabinet Office. Sarah has had an incredibly exciting and distinguished career, not least with her contribution to delivering the London 2012 Olympic Games as Head of Planning.